If you have ever worked with DevOps before in your life then you already know that it uses a cluster of tools and software systems for the sake of automation. Ansible is one of them.

What is ansible?

It is a third-party vendor solution designed specifically for the sake of automating various DevOps essentials. If you happen to work directly with different complicated processes and cloud systems then Ansible is the best ever tool that you can have. It uses simple language for the sake of coding and overseeing plenty of development-related processes.    

Best Ansible practices

The best way to use Ansible is to use it with the best practices that are directed by professionals. Although ansible provides customization support which means that you can program it relatively according to your requirements and the type of operations you are currently enrolled in. Following is a comprehensive list of possible best practices that you can get with Ansible;

  1. Understand the Philosophy in Ansible’s Design

The first and foremost thing that you should be doing with ansible is to try and understand the philosophy of the Ansible’s design. Almost every best practice of the ansible has some sort of connection to its philosophy. Ansible reduces the overall complexity of managing the operations and tasks that you are currently doing and advises the user to do the same with designing new components. The next philosophy is to optimize the ansible content for the sake of readability. If ansible content is properly optimized then it can also serve as the documentation for the workflow automation too.

The basic working of the Ansible philosophy is to help the users in designing the automation process. Also, it is also recommended that a diversified approach and working environment should also be implemented for using it often.

  1. Use ‘name’ for tasks and plays

Ansible playbook in reality is the foundation of the Ansible and provides the core working for the program. The tasks and plays that you start or already exists within the playbook should have specific “Name attributes”. Users must always follow this specific best practice for getting the best out of the Ansible tool. Also, when you allot a practical name to the task or play the other members of the team could easily understand what it is for and it's intent.

Doing so would only help the person to identify the type or the intent of the play that is going on regardless of going deep into it and dissecting the contents of the play. But it doesn't in any way reveal the objective of the task or play, it could either be the filename or some other additional documentation source. Well, you can’t ever know until you study the contents of the play.

  1. Recycle what is already present

One of the best practices for using Ansible that will allow you to get the best out of ansible is to look for the roles that can be re-used. The best practice of the Ansible dictates that you should potentially look for playbooks and the roles before writing them, this way maybe you can find a few that are not currently in use. Ansible galaxy which is a program that can be run on ansible by using "ansible-galaxy init" always has a role for the common software. Plenty of individuals and organizations provide high-quality roles before you can go on with developing them.

  1. Documentation of roles

Documentation of the roles is another important aspect that you can bring forth for improving the overall experience of the users with ansible. One of the best practices that revolve around the documentation of roles is the creation of the template using the same "galaxy-ansible init" command. This template can be used for describing the function as well as the role and also explaining the variable used. Users should also describe in detail the required dependencies alongside the examples. The best practice to do this would be to provide detailed documentation of the variables inside the table. 

  1. Right application for roles and models

It is hardly a best practice, as it is the most basic thing of them all; you should always use the right tool for the right job. Multiple approaches can be used for dealing with the roles and modules in the Ansible. These roles will allow for the reuse and collaboration of the general automation-based workflows and configurations. These roles also implement the enforcement of policies and standards as a default setting.

Modules are the small scripts that perform the specified action on the remote host or on their behalf. Users can express these modules as the python or PowerShell codes and then the Ansible task can then call the modules. The best practice is to use the modules too often as these will reduce the overall complexity while allowing for a simpler mode of automation when needed.

If you want to work with Ansible then the ansible certification is required, it will also prove to be a stepping stone for strengthening your overall career.